Running, But Not Finishing, The ING NYC Marathon

People keep saying that it must have been such a hard decision, the decision to leave the marathon.

It actually was not much of a choice. I first considered quitting around mile 11 but not seriously. I thought about quitting the way I always think about quitting during races. But then, I never actually do quit.

By 15, I was getting more sure I’d have to leave the race. I thought about the logistics and realized the best way would be to get to the 18th mile in Manhattan where my boyfriend was, and leave with him. Yes, I thought, that is what I’ll do.

But first, the beginning . . .

Last week, I would see the ING NYC Marathon ads on the subway and want to tell everyone around me, “I’m running that!” This week, when I see those signs I quickly look away and try not to cry.

Last week, all I wanted to read about online was the NYC Marathon. This week, I’ve been avoiding Twitter and blogs so I won’t have to hear about it.

Last week, I loved chatting about the race to all my coworkers about my upcoming race. This week, I’m hoping everyone forgot and won’t ask me about it.

Clearly, a lot has changed since last week.

The morning started like any other anxiety-filled morning. I woke up multiple times throughout the night and was up for good long before my alarm. I got dressed in my outfit and Tweeted this photo out so people would know to look for me:

And then I put on my hoodie, another hoodie, sweatpants and a robe. I also had two pairs of gloves, a scarf and earmuffs that I ended up not needing. With the exception of the bottom layer hoodie, the marathon will donate those items to charity. It was a warm, gorgeous day in November, which helped my stress so much because I am terrified of the cold. I am always much colder than everyone else and it really just hurts. I also never feel hot, and I don’t mind running in 85 degree temps. Some might even say I am oddly prone to hypothermia.


I arrived at the Staten Island Ferry about 45 minutes before my planned departure time (this is what crazy people do) and was waiting around when I saw Ashley. We chatted until our friends arrived, and we wound up with a little unplanned group for the trip:

[Melissa Z, Tina, Theodora, Emily, me and Ashley. Photo via Ashley.]

After a ferry ride and a long, hot, standing bus ride, we arrived at the start villages! We ran into Melissa and from then on she was in our little group. They were not what I expected and were comprised largely of pavement and people walking around.


I’m proud to say that this nervous peeer used the porta potties on Staten Island five times in the hour we had between arriving on the island and the start of the race. I have to say, this entire wait was pleasant. I wasn’t cold and the wait wasn’t long. Everyone always talks about the five freezing hours you spend waiting for the marathon to begin, but as long as you choose the right transportation time you shouldn’t have too long a wait. As for the freezing, well, we got lucky this year.

Before I knew it we were headed to the corrals, where Z and I stuck together as we broke from the group. We were lined up much closer to the Start than I expected. It was the most exhilarating feeling and the energy was incredible.

[My favorite photo. Possibly ever. Even my throwaway hoodie is pink.]

There’s the Verrazano Bridge! I felt great, happy, emotional and ready to run.

The cannon went off and New York, New York blasted through the speakers as we kicked off the race. Obviously I cried. I was finally running my marathon, after two years of planning, one year of qualifying and four months of training.

Everyone was right. You will run faster than you planned over the Verrazano Bridge because of the excitement and adrenaline. You don’t feel like you are running up a long, steep uphill even though you are. Brooklyn is like one big block party. People cheer for you by name (or chant! There is nothing like having a complete stranger CHANTING your name!), bands and speakers and playing music and it’s just fun. There’s no other way to put it. Brooklyn is a fun time.

The fist 7 miles went by so quickly I could not believe it each time we passed a mile marker ‘already.’  These miles did not even feel like effort; I was cruising. It was going so well that even with a porta potty stop I was well on track to run a strong race and finish under my goal time. As Z and I ran together with our matching neon pink compression arm sleeves, people would cheer for us a as team: “GO DORI AND MELISSA!” I loved that we were a team even to these strangers. We qualified for this marathon together, trained together and planned to cross the finish line holding hands.

When Brown Eyed Girl blared through the speakers, Z and I started singing, shouting along with the line “laughing and running, skipping and jumping” — much to the entertainment of the crowds. This marathon, it just sucks you in to a world where everyone is awesome, chanting your name and offering support. There is music everywhere. It is a total sensory overload with all the new sights and sounds and signs and people. It’s easy to forget about the world outside the marathon. The excitement enveloped me.

[I am much faster than I led you all to believe]

There are a few mistakes I made during these first seven miles. I think singing and shouting was one of them. Another was the high fives. I didn’t plan on giving them (I wanted my energy for myself) but when Z kept saying “Dor, give that kid a high five” I felt like a bad person for not doing it. So sometimes I did. The big one, the one I am having a hard time letting go, was worrying Z would get away from me at a water stop when I saw her jogging (really she was just bouncing because it helped her legs not to stop) rather than walking. Not wanting to lose sight of her, I jogged too. While drinking from my cup.

Right away I knew I made a mistake and switched back to a walk; however, I felt OK for a little while after that so I don’t know if that decision caused what came next. I just wish that incident didn’t happen so I could stop blaming myself and instead chalk it up to ‘one of those freak things’ – which it probably is. I just hate this doubt,  this idea that I could have finished the marathon happy and strong if I didn’t make such a stupid decision Finished the marathon I worked toward, trained for, spent lots of money on and looked forward to for the better part of two years.

We started mile 8 with Brightroom photographers suspended high above us. I felt amazing as Z grabbed my hand and we raised our arms for this photo. Also during mile 8, we stopped quickly at a porta potty. I think it was later during this mile, or perhaps during mile 9 that the pain started. An air pocket in what I believe is my esophagus. Through my two years of running and my four months of training, I experienced this pain only once before. It was on a five mile training run one evening exactly a month ago. I rarely run in the evenings because I am wary of running with any food in me. When three miles into that run I felt this air bubble in my chest, I only had two miles to push through. They ended up being fast despite the pain, but they were miserable miles and I knew I could not run another second past the those. I felt better once I stopped running. Because it never happened before it since, I didn’t think anything of it.

So I was surprised that of all the troubles I had during marathon training, it was this gas pain high up in my chest that made an appearance.

No amount of training or preparation could have prepared me for this one.

I didn’t know how to deal with the pain the first time and I still had no idea on Sunday. I think a good burp would have taken care of it, but I don’t know how to burp. I never burp and I don’t know what it feels like to have to burp.

I didn’t tell Z at first, not wanting her to worry. Also, talking hurt. We became silent running partners, me just mmmm-ing in response if she said anything. Finally, I admitted I was in pain. A lot of pain.

Since burping was not an option, I tried swallowing the bubble down. Yes, it could have just created pain in a whole new spot, but it also could have had a possible way out — a strategy that worked with belly pains I had during my first 20 mile run. But I was unsuccessful in my attempts. The pain and pressure in my chest were indescribable. It destroyed me. I couldn’t talk and even worse, I couldn’t eat. My sips at the water stations became smaller and eventually I could not stomach Gatorade anymore.

I kept having these mini dry heaves. As I ran. It felt like the bubble wanted to come up but couldn’t. A couple of times I felt like I could throw up, but I was never able to. I wasn’t even nauseous, but clearly something was trying to get out.

I stopped caring about the crowds; I stopped noticing them. Though I did notice the one guy dressed as a penis next to a sign that read; “That is a penis.” But I mean, of course I’d notice a penis. However, all the cheering did not help and I did not listen out for my name. It is possible people cheered for me. I did not hear them. All my energy was focused on the pain and the run.

Mile 11 hurt. By mile 13, I just felt worse even though I pretended to be in good spirits: “Halfway there!” We ran up the Pulaski Bridge. It was a a struggle. My pace had slowed and I looked forward to every water station because it meant I could walk. I was relieved that runner congestion meant we had to go slower. I let go of my time goal. Finishing under 5:00 was no longer an option. Now, my goal was just to finish.

I know it was hard for Z to see me in so much pain and not be able to do anything. She kept asking what she should do and I told her not to let me slow her down, to go and run her best race. She stuck with me on our short jaunt through Queens — none of which I remember well — and onto the Queensboro Bridge. At one point she forced me to eat a Shot Blok, only my second of the day, which was not an easy thing for me to do. It was the smart thing, since I needed to fuel if I had any hope of running another 12 miles.

I thought about putting on my music for the bridge. The reason I brought my iPod — hell, the entire reason I even bought my Nano — was so my music could push me through the quieter, more difficult parts of this race. Like this bridge. But I did not have the energy to even bother. Not even for my favorite uphill running song, Blackjack.

[My marathon playlist]

On the bridge Z started weaving through people. She clearly felt strong on this long, difficult uphill. I kept sight of her for as long as I could, but I was not feeling nearly as strong and I lost her. There, I started to walk for the first time. There, not finishing the race became a real possibility. And a few steps later, it became a likelihood.

People keep saying that it must have been such a hard decision, the decision to leave the marathon.

It actually was not much of a choice. I first considered quitting around mile 11 but not seriously. I thought about quitting the way I always think about quitting during races.

By 15, I was getting more sure I’d have to leave the race. I thought about the logistics and realized the best way would be to get to 95th Street where Andy was, and leave with him.

While running down the bridge into Manhattan, I thought I could push through the last 10 miles. I don’t know what led me to think that, but the feeling was short lived.  Once I approached the turn off the bridge, I was done.

I did not notice any “wall of sound” that they say is such a force when you come off the bridge. The wall of sound that picks you up and provides you with a much needed burst of energy along First Avenue. I didn’t hear a thing.

When I passed my apartment, a spot I was SO excited to run by, I did not feel any excitement. Instead, I felt regret at not having my keys with me. I just wanted to lie down.

I was 34 blocks from Andy and I had no idea how I would make it all the way to 95th street. I had no choice but to walk at times. In addition to the GI pain was chafing under my right armpit. I wore the same shirt on almost every training run and that never happened — why now? It might have been bearable if everything else wasn’t falling apart. I needed to stop.

The spectators on First Avenue — who were awesome — would cheer like crazy for me when they saw me walk. I did not want them to cheer for me.  I did not want them to know my name. All I wanted before this race was to hear people cheer for me by name, and now hearing my name was the last thing I wanted.  I wished I could hide but I stuck to the left side of the street, right alongside the spectators, so I wasn’t in the thick of the runners. And so I could easily walk off the side when I saw my friends.

At one point, I considered walking the rest of the marathon. But even if I could have run or run/walked through the pain, I wasn’t able to eat and I could barely drink more than a sip of water at a time. The thought of Gatorade made me sick.  I was already under fueled as it was with just two Clif Shot Bloks and Gatorade from the water stops being all I consumed during these 18 miles. Because I had a hard time getting water down, I could have become severely dehydrated. Even if I could have pushed through the pain, it would have been extremely dangerous to continue. And I really did not want to hear any more cheering.

Those last two miles were the longest, most difficult miles of my life. I could have stopped sooner but I would have still had to deal with getting to my friends. And since straight lines are the fastest way from one point to the next, I had no choice. It took everything I had to make it to my friends at mile 18.

So to answer the question, it was a hard decision but it also was not a decision. The choice was made for me.

My goals changed a few times during this marathon. When I started the race, my goal was to finish in less than 5 hours. When the esophageal pain became so bad I had to slow down, my goal became to finish. When I entered Manhattan, my goal was to make it to 95th street.

The streets went by slowly, and at 70th I could not believe I still had 25 blocks left. At 85th I did not know how I would handle this last 10. 95th street became my finish line. Much like runners’ last push of the marathon is those last 400 meters, my last push was to make it to that 18th mile.

Even though I walked multiple times along First Avenue, I made sure I was running as I approached 95th Street. It was really important to me, for some reason, that I was running as I approached my friends.  I knew I’d be stopping as soon as I saw them, but I did not want them to see me walking or struggling.

I was so happy to see my sweet Andy’s face, along with my friends Missy and Lim. I also saw Z’s fiance. I wondered what Z told them all about me and how much they knew. The metal barriers that were along First Ave were not in place at this point. I was relieved that I would not have to do any climbing.

Finally, I reached 95th Street. I stopped and said calmly, “I think I have to quit now. I can’t run anymore. I feel really sick.” Then I burst into tears. 

I wanted to see if Andy would encourage me to keep going, to convince me I could be a marathoner. But he could see what rough shape I was in. He knew that if I said I have to quit, things must really be bad. I looked to my friends, but felt embarrassed and guilty. They came all this way to see me and here I was, leaving the race in front of their faces. But they were amazingly supportive as well.

I stood there for a few minutes, crying but not leaving, but also not making any real effort to continue. I just wanted to lie down. That is all I had wanted since I entered Manhattan. I thought about pushing through and walking the rest of the race, but not only was I in too much pain to do even that, the thought of getting out of Central Park and having to make my way all the way to Andy’s AFTER I finished was too much to bear. If I finished the race, there would have been too much time between the present moment and getting to lie down. I had to do it now.

I walked off the course.

I took off my bib right away. Despite the pain, I was actually worried that marathon workers would reprimand me for leaving the course or accuse me of trying to cheat. What I did not do was stop my watch. That’s how you know things were bad — I never forget to stop my Garmin.

Which explains those last splits:

My friends were so supportive and understanding. I was clearly a wreck at the time I quit the NYC Marathon. I quit because I could run any more, and though I felt relief, it was still very difficult.

[Missy, Lim and Andy. Missy made her sign on the subway.]

I don’t remember much from that moment, but later I received this email from Lim (my former roommate):

I saw two amazing things today: I saw you make it to the 18th mile and then I saw a caring boyfriend take care of you in a time of need.  I am so proud of your accomplishment Dori.

I am incredibly lucky to have friends like Lim and Missy, friends like Rachel and Emily who came over after, all my Twitter friends (people I rarely speak to came out of the woodwork to send me messages of comfort) and Facebook friends who have been more supportive than I could have imagined (has anyone ever gotten so much praise for running 18 miles?), my coworkers who took me out to lunch to cheer me up and of course, my sweet Andy.

[Holding up my bib since I removed it]

We split away from them when we got to Andy’s building and finally, finally I got to lie down.

I have never been so relieved to be in a bed.

But I was also a a mess. I just quit the NYC Marathon. Andy was hilariously live tweeting from my account all morning (and it was very funny as I suspected) and getting updates on my status from friends who were tracking me. I had to send an update of my own. I felt like such a failure. Yes, I quit the race because of this terrible pain, but what if people didn’t believe me? What if they thought this was my excuse because I just couldn’t cut it? What if they thought I was just saying I had pain because the marathon was too hard?

I felt accountable because I made such a big deal out of this race on Facebook and Twitter. And now I had to admit defeat.

Needless to say, I cried. A lot. But a little later, my best friends since first grade came over. I was so happy to see Rachel and Emily, who both were on their way to watch me run when I left the race. Spending the day on the couch chatting with them took my mind off the day and was also good quality time with them that I didn’t get to have while I was training.

I was still in pain by the way. It didn’t go away, even hours after stopping my run. Every now and then Andy would look over and see me grimace in pain. Not that I need further confirmation that I did the right thing, but yeah, there it is.

[This is how I discarded my stuff. Looks sad.]

Like I said, I made such a big deal about this marathon on Facebook and Twitter. It was hard for me to read all the comments and replies to my quitting news. I really loved and appreciated the support, everyone was understanding and amazing, but I felt embarrassed and didn’t want to deal with any of it. What has been comforting is hearing how many other people have had to drop out of marathons too, even though I don’t wish it on anyone. I was dreading going into work the next day. The CEO of my company sent me a  really nice good luck email during the race, and I would have to admit to him that I  failed. I knew everyone at the office would ask me about the race or congratulate me, and I would have to repeat the story each time.  For the record, that did happen, and I cried every time.

[These arrived on Sunday evening from my mom]

I thought I would wake up Monday feeling better, but I didn’t. I avoided blogs and Twitter, so I had no idea how other people did. I’m feeling a lot better today and a lot less bitter. It is hard to be happy for everyone who finished when you feel so bitter, but now that another day passed I can say I do feel a lot better. I think the tears are over. It is just so hard to give everything you have into this one day. I spent an entire year (and lots of money) running races and qualifying for November 6, 2011. I spent four months training. I ran 20 miles twice. I gave up most of my social life.  My name was on an ad in a subway station! I spent money at the Expo on NYC Marathon branded gear for myself and as gifts. I worked so hard and tirelessly for this one race. This one race I did not complete.



If I did everything right before this pain started, not finishing the marathon would sting just a little less. But I can’t stop blaming myself. Thinking I caused this, I made this happen, by not walking through the water station. I worked so hard for today and then I sabotaged it. Did I really waste the four months of my life training for something I could have controlled?

I know that walking through that water station is probably not the reason my pain started. It is a fluke thing; it’s not like this is a pain I’d had many times before. It was just one of those things that happens that you can’t control. I am trying not to be too hard on myself. Looking back, I can’t believe I ran 9 miles with that pain. Those last nine are all a blur.

A few people commented “You’ll kill the NYC Marathon next year!” That is quite the presumption and all I can say is that I have absolutely no plans to do any such thing. I didn’t do 9+1 program to gain automatic entry and even more than that, I don’t plan on ever training for a marathon again.

Marathon training is not for me. I prefer classes like Refine Method and Core Fusion. I don’t want to give up my weekends again and I miss being (somewhat) social. I don’t want to donate another four months of my life to a marathon.

Of course I don’t know what will happen next year and maybe I’ll change my mind; at the same time I don’t know what will happen next year and maybe I won’t be able to run NYC for some other reason. I can’t count on next year.

I can only count on right now.

To be continued . . .

[Update: Read Surprise! I Ran the Sun Trust Richmond Marathon! for the Part 2 of this story]

92 comments on Running, But Not Finishing, The ING NYC Marathon

  1. catie w
    November 8, 2011 at 9:06 am (6 years ago)

    AMAZING BLOG! SO true and honest! I can’t imagine the amount of courage it took to write this blog… you really are such an inspiration! It is such an honor to read your blogs, you inspire me everyday(hopefully this doesn’t sound to sappy).

  2. Jen, a priorfatgirl
    November 8, 2011 at 9:27 am (6 years ago)

    No matter what, your 18 miles inspired me to want to run. Your story, your ability to fight through struggles and then, be honest and listen to your body is encouraging because sometimes, it really is so difficult to listen to our body when our body is telling us our goal may not be possible.

    Hold your head high and be proud of what you accomplished, because I’m proud of you!

  3. Ada
    November 8, 2011 at 9:40 am (6 years ago)

    Aww I’m sorry you had such a rough experience in the race:( Stomach pain is the worst when you’re running. It sounds like you made a smart decision for your body and you should feel good about that. I ran the race too, but was lucky enough not to experience significant gastro pain.
    Ada´s last blog post ..ING NYC Marathon 2011 Recap

  4. Allie
    November 8, 2011 at 9:49 am (6 years ago)

    Dori, thanks for sharing your story. Congrats on all that you did accomplish, and kudos to your amazing friends for being there for you. Happy core fusion & refine method classes for days & weeks to come!
    Allie´s last blog post ..A Week of Rejuvenation

  5. Laura
    November 8, 2011 at 10:06 am (6 years ago)

    Dori, I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to you! I have had to drop out of marathons before and I know exactly how you feel – it is SUCH a letdown :(

    Have you thought about doing another marathon sometime in the next few weeks? That way you wouldn’t have to train for four months, because you’d already be trained. Richmond is coming up this weekend, Philly and Brooklyn are next weekend, and the North Central Trail Marathon (in Maryland, and it’s totally non-technical so not very trail-like) is the weekend after).
    Laura´s last blog post ..No gym membership? No problem.

  6. Rhona @
    November 8, 2011 at 10:08 am (6 years ago)

    What an amazing, raw blog. My heart breaks for you, I’m so sorry :(
    It’s just not fair how our bodies let us down sometimes, you can do the best prep in the world and still have something like this happen to you and you can never imagine how it feels until it happens to you.
    You’re still young, there will be other races (whether marathons or not), other accomplishments…maybe one day you’ll get your revenge on the distance. Keep your head up and keep strong!
    Rhona @´s last blog post ..The Next Big Thing

  7. MelissaNibbles
    November 8, 2011 at 10:21 am (6 years ago)

    Dori, I’m sorry your marathon experience didn’t turn out the way you expected and trained for. Be proud of yourself for running those 18 miles and sticking it out for as long as you did. You could’ve ended up either really sick or injured if hadn’t stopped. I know nothing anyone says can change how you feel, but none of us are judging you. I think I speak for everyone when I say we’re very proud of you.

  8. Mari
    November 8, 2011 at 10:27 am (6 years ago)

    I just want to give you a big hug!

    This post is totally heartbreaking, running through pain for so long is impressive I must say. It is such a let down when your body gives out on you and there is nothing you can do about it.

  9. diana@mymarblerye
    November 8, 2011 at 10:28 am (6 years ago)

    it sucks. I know this race meant so much to you. But you didn’t quit…you had no choice. You’ve rocked the training and everything leading up to it. You’ll be able to rock it next time. We all believe you can.
    diana@mymarblerye´s last blog post ..New Snacks

  10. jobo
    November 8, 2011 at 10:28 am (6 years ago)

    Dori, I feel for you SO much…while this isn’t exactly what happened to me during the half marathon I did in August, the situation is somewhat similar. I amped it up, I was excited, I was hoping to do SO much better than my first half marathon the year prior, and then…I didn’t. I felt like a failure at first too and it is hard to get past. So I completely get that, even though mine wasn’t a full marathon, the feeling is pretty similar. I hope you are feeling better and as the days go on, you gain some closure. For me, my closure is going to be running 13.1 all over again, but on my own terms. Not in a race, just myself. Maybe worth considering if you want some sort of redemption, but of course, completely your decision…just something that helps me get past it. Hang in there, you did an awesome job, no matter what.And your bf sounds like one heck of a guy.
    jobo´s last blog post ..Evolutions (and housewarming mini-recap!).

  11. Katy Widrick
    November 8, 2011 at 10:43 am (6 years ago)

    It took a lot of guts to listen to your body — I’m proud that you made the right decision! There will always be another race.
    Katy Widrick´s last blog post ..Do You Tattoo?

  12. Carolina @ Peas in a Blog
    November 8, 2011 at 10:54 am (6 years ago)

    I love how honest this blog is Dori. The fact you got out there to run 18 miles is something less than the majority of the population can say — you are a rock star. Keep your head held high!
    Carolina @ Peas in a Blog´s last blog post ..Pea & Mint Soup.

  13. Lee
    November 8, 2011 at 10:58 am (6 years ago)

    I’m sorry this happened to you. Good for you for listening to your body though. And you know what? It’s okay not to want to run another marathon. I did one in 2007 and had an awful time and pretty much decided that it wasn’t for me. For a long time, I thought I was a failure for not wanting to try again, but you know what, I’m not and neither are you.
    Lee´s last blog post ..In the Doghouse

  14. Jennie
    November 8, 2011 at 11:01 am (6 years ago)

    I’m proud of you, Dori. You listened to your body and took care of yourself. Sometimes that’s the hardest thing and I admire your courage. Miss you at Core Fusion. Hope to see you there soon! xo

  15. Amber
    November 8, 2011 at 11:19 am (6 years ago)

    I can’t imagine how hard this post was for you to write, thanks for sharing it with us. I’m proud to know you and proud of what you’ve overcome this year to get to this point! I can’t wait to see what you do next, because I know you’ve got something up your sleeve. Hugs to you girl!
    PS I love your Dwight bobblehead, I have the same one.
    PPS Andy sounds like he is just perfect.

  16. Marie
    November 8, 2011 at 11:21 am (6 years ago)

    Dude, that sucks. I’m really sorry. And yeah, it doesn’t sound like you had much of a choice, any more than you’d have if your legs got chopped off at mile 18. Not your fault.
    Marie´s last blog post ..5 word Friday

  17. Melissa @TryingtoHeal
    November 8, 2011 at 11:43 am (6 years ago)

    Dori, I know there are very few words that can help you feel better about this race, but I hope that seeing what you did do, in the conditions you were in, will help you see how strong mentally and physically you are. Marathons are hard races and yes, these types of pains/things happen whether we like it or not. Sending you hugs, and I’m happy that you did what was best for your body; that’s what’s most important, we don’t want you to be hurt permanently!
    Melissa @TryingtoHeal´s last blog post ..Comment on Digestion Troubles by Melissa

  18. Meghann
    November 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm (6 years ago)

    You are amazing. That is all.
    Meghann´s last blog post ..Eggs

  19. Mary @ food and fun on the run
    November 8, 2011 at 12:07 pm (6 years ago)

    Putting this out there for everyone to read takes true guts and is so encouraging. There are times when you just have to listen to your body, and you definitely did that. If you decide to ever run a marathon, then good for you. If you decided it is not your thing, that is great to. Do what is best for you! :)

  20. Karen
    November 8, 2011 at 12:11 pm (6 years ago)

    I’m sorry you had to experience this. But whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You’re optimistic attitude is AMAZING and so are you! Hold your head up proud. Just signing up and training for a marathon takes guts, something most people would never even consider. Hope you’re feeling better!

  21. Michelle
    November 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm (6 years ago)

    I’m sorry that the marathon didn’t go as you planned, but we’re all still cheering for you! 18 miles is a helluva lot further than most people can run – even without crippling pain. Congrats on your accomplishment, and also, congratulations on writing this post. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but it’s beautifully written, and I am sure will be an inspiring and comforting post for the many of us out there to look back on when we’re facing adversity or a difficult challenge.
    Michelle´s last blog post ..Running Buddies

  22. Jocelyn @ Enthusiastic Runner
    November 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm (6 years ago)

    Honestly I have been there during a race. I have not been able to finish. During the race, you honestly can’t think it can get any worse….then after the race it does. At least for me that was what happened…I started to doubt myself, BUT YOU CAN’T! You are an awesome runner and a great athlete! Remember that. You are strong…strong enough to know when your body has had enough. Good for you!

  23. Melissa
    November 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm (6 years ago)

    Dori, thank you for sharing this. I can only imagine how you felt – but I love your remark, which completely resonates with me. You’re right – we can only count on right now. (Which, since I’m such a Type-A planner is hard to do – but I need to start keeping this in mind…)
    Melissa´s last blog post ..Based on these orange-tinged fingers, I’m:
    a – channeling…

  24. Hannah
    November 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm (6 years ago)

    Dori, I’m so sorry. I know you worked your ASS off for this marathon, and don’t forget that! You are so strong, and so amazing. It’s scary to be vulnerable, especially after sharing your excitement for it on the interwebs, but it just shows how honest you are with yourself. :)
    Hannah´s last blog post ..Honoring my Dad-Part One

  25. Mari
    November 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm (6 years ago)

    I read this post 2 times and each time…I am amazed by you!
    Mari´s last blog post ..2011 ING NYCM!!!!!

  26. Missy Maintains
    November 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm (6 years ago)

    I am so sorry about the pain and what you went through but I am seriously so amazed by you! You are so strong and 18 miles is such an accomplishment. This post is amazing and took so much courage to write. P.S. Andy is the most supportive (and funniest) boyfriend! Love you!
    Missy Maintains´s last blog post ..NYC Marathon Day!

  27. Eunice
    November 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm (6 years ago)

    So sorry about your experience Dori. I know it’s hard not to go back and wonder if you could have changed things. But know that just because you didn’t finish doesn’t mean that the hard work you put into getting there was in vain. I hope you enjoy getting back to the classes you love and spending time with friends. You deserve it!

  28. Brittany
    November 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm (6 years ago)

    You did an amazing job, and you should never feel embarrassed or feel like you failed. You trained hard and even made it 18 miles in pain…I admire you for that. While I have not yet trained for a marathon, I have ran 5 half marathons, and I faced a similar situation while running my last half. I was injured and ran through the pain, but didn’t get close to my time goal, which was beating my PR from the previous month’s half. It was devastating to me at the time, but looking back, I’m so proud of myself for just getting out there and having the dedication to prepare for something so challenging (although I know a marathon is even MORE challenging!). Make sure you remember that you are strong, dedicated, and you did the best you could at that point in time. I still admire you for training and running that far…its a big accomplishment and you should be proud! :)

  29. Jess
    November 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm (6 years ago)

    Seriously…this had to be so hard for you to write, let alone to experience. I give you such credit for handling it the way you have. And for being able to use this as a learning experience — so you aren’t into marathon training, not everyone is. And that’s totally ok (which I know you know!). Get your butt back to CF and Refine and see what the future holds. I’m sure lots of greatness is heading your way, as usual!
    Jess´s last blog post ..Running with(out) purpose

  30. betsy
    November 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm (6 years ago)

    Thanks for being so honest with your experience. You may not have finished the marathon, but at least you had the courage to start!
    betsy´s last blog post ..Island Creek Oyster Tour

  31. Matthew
    November 8, 2011 at 3:00 pm (6 years ago)

    You did an amazing job. The fact that you ran almost 10 miles in pain is crazy. I am glad you had good people around to support you.

    Santana blames herself for not running with you.

  32. Mary (A Merry Life)
    November 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm (6 years ago)

    I’m so sorry about what happened and the pain you felt during the race. Thank you so, so much for writing this post though. It had to be hard to relive and I’m sure you didn’t want to write it but in a way it’s almost more inspiring than reading 20 recaps of good races. Thank you for being so honest and open about your experience. You still should be proud of running 18 miles, mostly in pain too! Hope you keep feeling better and enjoy all the classes in your future. :)
    Mary (A Merry Life)´s last blog post ..New Zealand Bucket List

  33. Cameo
    November 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm (6 years ago)

    Don’t keep beating yourself up over that one moment at the water station. Please don’t! Chalk it up to a fluke and then pat yourself on the back for running 9 FREAKIN’ MILES WHILST IN EXCRUCIATING PAIN! I can’t even fathom running 9 consecutive miles feeling good, let alone in pain, let alone after already running 9. You are strong! This post was so honest and insightful and intriguing to read. It was like being there with you. Thank you for sharing and for showing your readers what it means not only to have commitment, but also to have courage. It took courage to quit and to do what was right for your body. For that you should be proud.
    Cameo´s last blog post ..I am mad at Mint Hot Chocolate

  34. Karin
    November 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm (6 years ago)

    What an amazing post. Thank you for letting all of us in to read about your journey in the marathon. Looks like all of the time you spent nurturing your relationship with Andy has really paid off! How wonderful that you have him and all of your friends in your life. Congrats on running an amazing race.

  35. Fiona
    November 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm (6 years ago)

    Thank you so much for posting this. This must have been a horrible weekend for you. I know how hard you worked on this. I honestly do not think it was the water station run, I really don’t. It was probably just a weird fluke thing. To me, running that far in pain is a far more admirable acheivement than doing the 26.2. I cannot believe you were able to push yourself for so long. I also totally admire you for saying that marathon training is not for you. No need to bandwagon.

    PS – no more marathon training for me means I can start going to Refine on weekends :)
    Fiona´s last blog post ..I Am A Marathoner!!!

  36. ronni
    November 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm (6 years ago)

    As a mother, reading how your child was hurting is breaking my hart….But, as a mother of such an amazing daughter, my heart is full of love and pride. Someone said it…noone is judging you…they are just in awe of you, as am I

  37. Ma
    November 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm (6 years ago)

    You did a great job, and stopping is a hard decision, and I’m sure it was the best option for you. You are still hardcore for training and you are still a great runner!

  38. E
    November 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm (6 years ago)

    As someone who has never run more than 2 miles and cannot even contemplate running a marathon, though I would LOVE to try, I can’t tell you how much I liked your recap. Everyone makes it seem so merry and jolly and wonderful so it is nice to hear a different side to it, strangely. I’m so sorry you didn’t finish and felt so terrible after four grueling months of training but I really appreciate your fresh perspective. THAT’S inspiring.

  39. Kim
    November 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm (6 years ago)

    Dori, training is the most difficult part of the marathon. Because you were so dedicated to training you are fully capable of running 26.2 miles, don’t forget that. It was probably harder to stop at 18 than it would be to run 26.2 on a better day for you. Congratulations on your efforts and wow it’s going to feel good to become a normal fit person again, without miles and miles hanging over your head every week!
    Kim´s last blog post ..Thank You

  40. Kace
    November 8, 2011 at 8:21 pm (6 years ago)

    Ok. I’ve had that pain before, too (I can’t burp either – I’m beginning to wonder if its related tothe hiatal hernia they just found, which apparently LOADS of people live their lives not knowing they have.) Anyway, so I get that – at least for me it feels like an elephant standing on my chest.

    This is going to sound horrible, but the only thing thats ever worked for me is a)lying down completely flat for a long time or b) sticking my finger down my throat. I usually get 2 or 3 great burps out of that and stop when I start to feel anything but air coming up. Its relief like you wouldnt believe. I wanted to do it during my half, too, but I figured I’d look like I was barfing and get carted off.

    Anyway, I’m not sure what else to say except 18 miles is nothing to scoff at.
    Kace´s last blog post ..Unexpected Highlights

  41. Meghan
    November 8, 2011 at 9:16 pm (6 years ago)

    Oh my goodness, a very similar thing happened to me once! I had never heard of anyone experiencing that kind of pain before. A couple years ago I was running a half marathon and got an awful, gut-wrenching case of the hiccups. After that I had this strange pain in the top of my chest that sounds similar to what you were describing…I couldn’t breathe, drink, or eat barely at all, which makes it pretty difficult to finish a half marathon. I managed to finish with a combination of running and walking, but I was so disappointed in my time because I was well-trained. I know how you feel!

  42. Mac
    November 8, 2011 at 10:40 pm (6 years ago)

    Good work on the marathon! Even though you didn’t make it to the end, 18 miles is an awesome accomplishment, plus it gives you something to look forward too…another shot at a marathon. Keep your head up :)
    Mac´s last blog post ..November Grub Club

  43. Liz (Little Bitty Bakes)
    November 8, 2011 at 11:15 pm (6 years ago)

    Dori, you did what was right for you in that moment and that takes a lot of courage! Be proud of the journey you had to get to this point. I know you’ve got a great marathon in you :)

  44. Samantha @ Health Happiness & Skinny Jeans
    November 8, 2011 at 11:24 pm (6 years ago)

    Dori I can honestly say I know how hard this story was to tell bc I told a similar one this summer after I dropped out of a 30k due to severe cramping. I was angry, bitter, embarrassed, frustrated and sad. I worried people would think my story was made up or that I was exaggerating the pain. I didn’t want to think about that race at all. But those feeling passed, as these thing often do.

    I went on to finish a marathon after that race but not the way I wanted to. That damn pain returned halfway through and I was forced to walk for most of the second half. I was furious!! I was mortified!! I was defeated!! And this time I went on to complete the race but felt ashamed at my time and refused to accept the praise that others wanted to give me. I felt like I’d failed even though I crossed that line. It was a very hard week and one that I’d rather not relive.

    But you know what? I got through it and you will too. In time you will see that the accomplishment wasn’t finishing it was the dedication and determination to start. You sacrificed and challenged yourself and that is what matters. You stopped and that’s not your fault- it was necessary. But you tried and pushed through pain and no one can deny how amazing that is. This may not resonate with you today (it took me a while too) but I promise you will get there.

    Maybe you will race again and maybe you wont but today that doesn’t matter. Today just focus on you, the girl who was brave enough to recognize when she had to let go. That is courage.
    Samantha @ Health Happiness & Skinny Jeans´s last blog post ..Why Kate Moss and Pinterest Don’t Mix

  45. gena
    November 9, 2011 at 8:20 am (6 years ago)

    Having never *totally* understood marathon culture, I don’t want to diminish the glory of crossing the finish line, but I will say that your running over 15 miles (which would slay me on a good day) and persisted through a shocking amount of pain, not to mention having the good sense and reason to know when to stop running and preserve your own health, all strikes me as triumphant. Truly. I see these things as every bit as worthy, if not worthier, than being a finisher. Congrats.

  46. David H.
    November 9, 2011 at 10:57 am (6 years ago)

    Having said “I’ll never do a marathon again” a couple of times, I know what that feeling is like. Preparing is more than just 4 months — there’s a lot of base miles that need to be build up over time. Also, I know it’s tough to not use the word “quit,” but having a DNF in a half marathon and a couple of DNS due to injury, it’s all a big learning experience. There’s a lot to take in, I know, but you did the right thing and will be a smarter and stronger runner because of this.
    David H.´s last blog post ..Wordless Wednesday: He’s 3!

  47. Sana
    November 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm (6 years ago)

    I loved this post, not because you had to quit running a marathon, but you realized a lot about yourself. It sucks that you have a lot of GI issue and they don’t sound fun at all. I am glad that you have your weekends back :) Enjoy them!

  48. Anthony
    November 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm (6 years ago)

    My friend sent me this. I was cheering for some friends who were running around an 11 minute pace and I actually remember cheering for you around mile 8. Sorry to hear you had such a rough year. The nice thing is, there will always be another marathon on the horizon. Stay strong and healthy. Cheers,
    Anthony´s last blog post ..Running, But Not Finishing, The ING NYC Marathon


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